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(United Nations) The United States is looking to pass the buck, so to speak, on to other UN member states to boost their support for the international organization. The US is asking the UN to reduce its assessed contributions, and for other members "with money to spare" to pick up the slack. "Global economic balances have shifted a good deal," says the US delegation's Ambassador Herbert Gelber, arguing that countries such as Germany, Japan and newly industrialized countries of Southeast Asia should pay more of the fare. Singapore's Foreign Minister S. Jayakumar says it is unfair to ask other countries to assume more of the financial burden without offering them "any more authority over the most important expenditure decisions."
(Brookfield) A gorilla caged and captive in an Illinois zoo proved that her humanity matches (perhaps surpasses) that of her keepers. A three-year-old toddler somehow tumbled 18 feet into the zoo's gorilla pit, home to seven big hairy beasts with justifiably bad attitudes. Binti, a seven-year-old female gorilla, scooped up the little boy and cradled him in her massive gorilla arms, then gently put the critically injured child within reach of zookeepers. This is the first time in the history of the zoo that anyone has fallen into the gorilla pit.
(USA) Astrologically speaking, here, says Time, is the breakdown of Americans on the Internet:
(USA) More down to earth, the world's top religions' tally, according to Parade Magazine:
(New York) The United States comes in second place -- behind Canada -- in a United Nation's study of overall quality of life worldwide. The study examines factors including health care, education, and basic purchasing power. Coming in third through fifth places were Japan, the Netherlands and Norway. The quality-of-life ranking of developing states, from the best on down, includes first-place Hong Kong, followed by Cyprus, Barbados, Bahamas, South Korea and Argentina. Coming in last are Mozambique, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Niger. The report also finds that rich people around the world are getting richer, while the poor become even poorer -- 1.6 billion people in the world are worse off then they were 10 years ago. The report finds that the planet's 358 billionaires have more assets than the combined incomes of the home countries to 45 percent of the world's people.
(Santa Ana) US federal agents have arrested a California woman accused of importing pregnant women from Hungary and selling their babies to American adoptive parents for up to $80,000 each. The woman allegedly worked with a Hungarian partner, promising to pay the Hungarian mothers $1,000 for a baby with dark features and $12,000 for babies with light features.
(Ann Arbor) Keishia Thomas, an 18-year-old black woman in Michigan, used her own body to protect a Ku Klux Klan demonstrator wearing a confederate flag, after anti-KKK demonstrators turned on him. "Just because you beat somebody doesn't mean you're going to change his mind," said heroic Keshia. Police sprayed tear gas and arrested five of the 1,000 anti-KKK demonstrators. No Klan members were arrested.
(Washington) A US organization, the Business Alliance for International Economic Development, is calling for an increase in US foreign assistance. The group argues that foreign aid to developing countries helps them to become better customers tomorrow. The group also notes that 80 percent of the foreign aid budget is spent in the United States, benefiting "hundreds of thousands of Americans -- farmers, truckers, assembly line workers, software developers ..."
(Santa Barbara) The movie "Jaws" has provoked real-life fears among surfers, swimmers and kayakers in the local Pacific waters off this famous city on California's south coast, after a Great White shark was seen devouring two sea lions snatched from a buoy near the harbor entrance. Large numbers of the sea lions like to lounge on buoys and low-lying boats tethered near the beaches. Marine experts are advising swimmers and kayakers to avoid the shark-tempting sea lion hangouts around boats and buoys until the sea lions move on to other waters.
(Switzerland) Who's the top competitor on the world's economic battlefield? Not a big surprise: it's the fiscally pugnacious USA. That's according to the annual World Competitiveness Yearbook, published by the International Institute for Management Development. Moving down the ranking ladder, stands Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Denmark on the 2nd to 5th place rungs. Switzerland and Germany have slipped to 9th and 10th places, while Britain and France are in 19th and 20th place. Russia comes in last at 46th.
(London) But what inquiring minds REALLY want to know is which countries are the world's top SEX superpowers. This time Russia comes in first, with the USA in the inferior second place. Russians engage in doing "it" 135 times a year on the average, while Americans average 133. That's still more than twice as often as the less-lascivious Spanish (64 times). The London International Group (makers of Durex condoms) surveyed 10,000 sexually active adults in 15 countries about their love lives. Voted the most considerate lovers: Canadians, Mexicans and Britons.
(Washington) Network television news in the United States has fallen in viewership by nearly a third in just three years, says a nationwide survey. Local television news has taken a drop as well, but not by such a sizable cut. Some attribute the drop to a decline in TV viewing in general, more options to pick from on cable, more time spent on the WWW and online networks, and many erstwhile viewers becoming "just too busy."
(New York) Are you a C-SPAN fan? Could you imagine the government affairs channel at every stop on your dial? A New York cable company has been doing just that to bring past-due customers current on their cable bills. Rather than cutting off cable service altogether, Paragon Cable runs C-SPAN programming on each of its 77 channels for delinquent subscribers. This clever strategy has increased collection of overdue balances dramatically, says Paragon.
(Los Angeles) Most Americans can empathize with the homeless, in part because many are afraid they might someday become homeless themselves. A recent nationwide Gallup survey says about 16 percent of Americans -- some one-in-six adults -- live in fear of becoming homeless; most of those are women under the age of 35.
(New Jersey) Nearly two-thirds of US companies export their products and services overseas, and one third of those firms plan expansion over the next 12 months, says the Institute of Management Accountants. The top targets of all that activity (in ranking order): Canada, Mexico, Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan, and South America. Eastern Europe comes in last.
(London) US companies looking to invest overseas, rather than just export their products, have favored the UK as their top choice, according to a survey by consultants Ernst & Young. In 1994, 132 U.S. manufacturing projects moved into the UK, followed by 74 into China, and 54 into France. Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, the Czech Republic, the Philippines and Viet Nam are also engendering U.S. investor confidence, reflecting a shift to investment in emerging markets, says Ernst & Young.
(New York) Playboy Enterprises is placing a greater emphasis on international markets. The company has announced plans to expand its current base in Russia, and to launch a Chinese edition of Playboy in Taiwan. "We need to expand in countries where there are open markets for the first time," said Playboy CEO Christie Hefner. The company is the majority owner of Playboy TV United Kingdom, and of the Playboy Channel in Japan. Playboy is working with a Malaysian partner in southeast Asia.
(USA) From classic Americana, a Burma-Shave sign:
(USA) Ann Landers suggests if you would insult a man, first walk a mile in his shoes. Then if you insult him, you're a mile away, and you've got his shoes!
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